United Methodist Connector logoHistory of Burks Chapel Church


In 1867 on the land of Larkin Cleaveland, Burks Chapel began under a Brush Arbor. It was started under the leadership of Bro. Sim Williams and Bro. Ben Burks, with the help of Father Peter Williams, Henry Tigner, Joe Tyner, Sebe Cleaveland and others wanting a place to worship. .


These men having a desire for a better place to worship continued to grow strong. On October 21, 1881 trustees of Burks Chapel, applied to Larkin G. Cleaveland for land to build a Church. The land was purchased for Ten dollars ($10).  A log cabin was built under the pastorate of Bro. Glen Burks. Through his divine guidance and great work for God, the church was named Burks Chapel.


Bro. Jim Robinson our first pastor in charge, under which the plans to build a church began. The group was led to purchase an old gin house from Mr. Cleveland and moved it to the site that was purchase from Mr. Cleaveland. Rev. Jim Allen served one year, (1888) under his leadership and guidance a new church was under construction. Rev. J. Roberts served from 1888-1890. Under his leadership, the new church was completed.


Rev. S. Crandol, served two years starting in 1899. Under his leadership, new seats and a bell were purchased. Rev. J. J. Grinder, served three years. The church was painted under Rev. Grinder's leadership. Rev. N.C. Hanson, under his leadership, ten feet was added to the church.


Rev. Graham came to us in 1948 and gave us ten years of dedicated service. During his leadership the MYF and the First Youth Choir was organized. Rev. Beaton, served from 1958-1965. During the 60’s, Burks Chapel experienced a great deal of growth, the church was remodeled. In 1970, Burks Chapel was merged to “Burks Chapel United Methodist Church”. From 1965 to 1979, the following ministers served as pastors of Burks Chapel: Rev. F.V. Hunter, Rev. O.B. Davis, Rev. Strickland

Rev. J.C. Neal, Rev. Crump, Rev. Burton, Rev Emory, Rev. A. Causey


Rev. Ronald Henderson came to us and under his leadership the church decided to build a new place of worship. Rev. Leon Mathews came in 1983 and under his leadership; the church we now occupy was built.  Rev. Marshall Handon can in 1992, and served three years. Rev. Lonnie Thornton served from June 1995 to June 1999. Rev. Lenton Snow served from June 1999 to June 2004, under Rev. Snow we became an every Sunday church, and our 1st Sunday Lunch Ministry began.


Rev. John D. Tompkins served from 2004 untill 2011. Under his leadership our Sunday School and Wednesday Night Bible Study Class grew tremendously. During Rev. Thompkins' tenure land was purchased and the new location has been established for rebuilding the church located on John Lovelace Road.


In 2011 Rev. Alphonso Smith ( Burks Chapels 53rd pastor) was appointed to us as his first Pastoral appointment. This website is an inspiration of Rev. Smith, and through the help of God, we look to continue for another 145 years.

 For the full unedited history of Burks Chapel click here



History of the UMC

On April 23, 1968, The United Methodist Church was created when Bishop Reuben H. Mueller, representing The Evangelical United Brethren Church, and Bishop Lloyd C. Wicke of The Methodist Church joined hands at the constituting General Conference in Dallas, Texas. With the words, "Lord of the Church, we are united in Thee, in Thy Church and now in The United Methodist Church," the new denomination was given birth by two churches that had distinguished histories and influential ministries in various parts of the world.


Theological traditions steeped in the Protestant Reformation and Wesleyanism, similar ecclesiastical structures, and relationships that dated back almost two hundred years facilitated the union. In the Evangelical United Brethren heritage, for example, Philip William Otterbein, the principal founder of the United Brethren in Christ, assisted in the ordination of Francis Asbury to the superintendency of American Methodist work. Jacob Albright, through whose religious experience and leadership the Evangelical Association was begun, was nurtured in a Methodist class meeting following his conversion.



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